Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Minnesota’s dominant D has similar qualities to Denver’s Super Bowl 50 team

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By Eric Nelson
January 4, 2018


MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the frigid north….

•Dominant D: The Minnesota Vikings defense is starting to resemble the Denver Broncos of two years ago. Like the Broncos, the Purple have ultra-talented players such as Anthony Barr, Everson Griffen, Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes. Winning the coveted Lombardi Trophy would elevate the Vikings defense to elite status – just like the Broncos were when they won Super Bowl 50 behind Von Miller, Demarcus Ware and Aqib Talib

•Orange Crush: The Broncos Super Bowl run was made possible because their defense played out of this galaxy. In the playoffs Denver shut down Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and New England’s Tom Brady, and then bottled up Carolina’s Cam Newton on the super stage in Santa Clara. Minnesota has a chance to duplicate Denver’s success if the Viking defense continues to excel…

•200 Club: Minnesota WR Stefon Diggs had 6 catches for 65 yards and 1 touchdown last week against Chicago. Diggs now has 200 career catches and has reached that mark faster than any Viking in team history (40 games)…

•Randy Ratio: Former Vikings WR Randy Moss is one of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Moss was a super freak who had game changing abilities. He deserves a hall call…

•Scoreboard Salute: Jack Morris – who was recently voted into the Baseball HOF – received cheers after he was shown on the US Bank Stadium video board during the Bears-Vikings game…

•Drought-Busters: Buffalo is in the NFL postseason for the first time since 1999. The LA Rams are playoff-bound for the first time since 2004. Edmonton’s 11-year NHL playoff drought came to an end last spring. Is Minnesota’s NBA dry spell ready to end too? The Timberwolves have not been in the playoffs since 2004, but with a 24-15 record this season, there is a good chance they join the Bills, Rams and Oilers as a playoff team…

•Sub-Mariners: According to the Seattle Times, the Mariners now have the longest run of futility. Seattle has not qualified for the playoffs since 2001, when the Mariners won an MLB record 116 regular season games…

•Buffalo Stampede: With Buffalo in the playoffs, there is now a chance the Bills will play a Super Bowl in Minneapolis for a second time. Buffalo lost Super Bowl XXVI to Washington 37-24 at the Metrodome…

•Coincidental Losers: Cleveland is now the second team in NFL history to finish 0-16. The only other 0-16 team in league history was Detroit in 2008. According to the LA Times, the Browns and Lions both went 4-0 in the pre-season, only to lose every game that counted. This is more proof that exhibition games really are meaningless…

•Sony Shines: Just a hunch but I am guessing that Sony Michel won’t have to pay for any meals in Athens. Michel ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns in Georgia’s 54-48 double OT win over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. Michel’s sprinter speed was simply too much for the Sooners…

•Badger Ball: That was an impressive win for number 6 Wisconsin against 10th ranked Miami in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night. Sophomore QB Alex Hornibrook threw for 258 yards and four touchdown passes in the Badgers convincing 34-24 win. Wisconsin finished the season 13-1 and remains one of the nation’s top programs…

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GDG rundown for the weekend of August 18th-20th

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It’s getting toward crunch time in the MLB.  It’s getting toward game time in the NFL.  But no matter what time it is, our guys are always at the ready to bring the heat.  Eric is back in the Downtown Minneapolis studio, while Larry gives his take from the Twin Cities’ suburbs this week.  It’s a packed week, with the NFL Preseason going into its second week, the anticipation of P.J. Fleck’s Gopher debut, the Wild re-signing a local product, and the Wolves’ increased exposure.  GDG’s Tom Tuttle joins in the fun as he tries to figure out if the Twins pulled the plug a little early on their postseason chances.

“Fake” Football Equals Real Big Money

Segment 1: The NFL continues to roll through its preseason…and continues to rake in the money.  Eric and Larry begin this week by looking at the process of how this month of the league’s calendar works.  This includes the money that fans are willing to spend.


Watching Out for the Injury Bug

Segment 2: As the Vikings take their last portions of Camp back into the Cities, which injuries are the guys concerned about?  They focus in on whether Latavius Murray will be ready to go for the season opener.


Hoping To Be Fleck-Tastic

Segment 3: The Gopher football team is ready to start the P.J. Fleck era.  Are the fellas geeked to see how this edition of the team will look?  Then, the L.A. Dodgers are flat out steamrolling the rest of baseball.  We hear about an inspiring comeback story on the mound.  And there are other stories about athletics looking beyond the court.


Pigskin…In & Out of Reality

Segment 4: Wait a minute…Rice and Stanford are opening their NCAA football seasons WHERE?!?  Where are Wisconsin and Notre Dame going to battle on the football field in upcoming seasons?  Plus, are either of our hosts big into fantasy football?


Yea or Nay: GDG’s Tom Tuttle on the Twins’ Playoff Chances

Segment 5: Can the Twins stay alive in the AL postseason chase?  Did they pull the plug too early on this season?  GDG’s Tom Tuttle joins the program to give his thoughts on whether the “Wait for Next Year” strategy really works.


Twin Cities’ Winter Teams Make Some News

Segment 6: A native Minnesotan is coming home.  We hear about the Wild signing former center Matt Cullen.  After that, if you’re away from the Upper Midwest and want to see the 2017-2018 Timberwolves, you’ll have plenty of chances.  Our hosts peek at the Wolves’ increased presence in the national spotlight.


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GDG rundown for the weekend of Aug. 11th – 13th

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Time’s ticking to take care of those Summer vacations.  So, the road show continues for one of our hosts.  Larry is back in the Twin Cities, while Eric has traveled east on I-94 to the city known as Chicago.  The guys really dig into the Second City, from the ChiSox to how things roll on different sides of the metro.  The Vikings get their preseason underway.  What should we expect from this version of the Purple?  And how important of a role has Mankato played in the franchise’s history.  Is the World Series matchup a foregone conclusion?  The Lynx will have to get familiar with another homecourt come playoff time.  And Larry catches up with the 3M Champion (Paul Goydos), the President’s Cup captain (Steve Stricker), and a stud Viking defender (Eric Kendricks).

No Winning Time for the White Sox 

Segment 1: With Eric rolling into Chicago to take in a White Sox game , the guys look at the disappointment on the South Side of the Second City.  Plus, can the Twins pull it together enough to stay in the postseason chase?


Which Side of the Windy City?

Segment 2: Our hosts take another look at the city of Chicago.  What makes the difference between the North Side and the South Side?  After that, Larry recaps the Champions Tour making their annual stop in the Twin Cities.  And who’s the favorite to win this weekend’s PGA Championship?


It’s Back to Football for the Purple

Segment 3: The Vikings have found their way to the Preseason.  What can we expect once the regular season starts?  The fellas give their thoughts on where the team can improve.  Then, a former Purple signal caller made an impression during the second game of the NFL Preseason.


A Title-Series Collision Course?

Segment 4: The Dodgers and Astros are running away with the best records in their respective leagues.  But will they meet in the World Series?  Eric and Larry discuss any other contenders that could derail the potential showdown.  They also look into the participation decline in golf after yet another Minneapolis city course announces it will (at least partially) close.


Larry Gets His Miles and Grabs Some Sound

Segment 5: Larry continued his busy week when he returned from the NFL’s Hall of Fame weekend in Canton, OH.  His first stop was Blaine, where he caught up with the winner of last weekend’s 3M Championship (Paul Goydos) and this year’s U.S. President’s Cup captain (Steve Stricker).  Next, Larry strolled into Mankato and chatted with Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks before the team said its final goodbyes to the city.


The Roaming Lynx & A Fond Farewall

Segment 6: The Lynx are undoubtedly the WNBA’s best.  Is that fueled by a sense of revenge?  The guys discuss that, as well as the changing homecourts for this season’s team.  And it’s farewell to Mankato for the Vikings.  Our hosts reflect on the impact Training Camp had on the community.

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After 52 Years in Mankato, that’s all, folks!

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By Larry Fitzgerald
August 10, 2017


MANKATO — August 8, 2017 marks the official end of an era when, after 52 years, the NFL Minnesota Vikings left Mankato State University and the city of Mankato for the very last time. After all these years, the Vikings will move to their new permanent office and training headquarters in Eagan, Minnesota in March of 2018.

All 32 NFL teams are in their second weeks of training camp, the rosters loaded with 90 players each fighting to make dreams come true. Last week I was in Canton, Ohio for the NFL’s Hall of Fame game. Dallas edged Arizona 20-18.

Last year’s HOF game was canceled because of poor field conditions. Many changes have been made to Tom Benson Stadium just off highway 77 in Canton. This year’s 2017 HOF Class featured Morten Anderson, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley, Jerry Jones, Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson and Kurt Warner.

The Vikings pre-season starts Thursday night in Buffalo vs. the Bills. After carefully watching the Vikings working hard in Mankato, I am reminded how time just keeps moving on. When I started covering sports in the Twin Cities 39 years ago, little did I know I was the first Black sportswriter to cover the Vikings full time.

The Vikings had a private ceremony Monday thanking the city of Mankato and Mankato State University. Vikings ownership was there, team President Mark Wilf with team COO Kevin Warren as master of ceremonies, as well as the president of Mankato State and the city’s mayor.

The University’s president thanked the Vikings for helping Mankato State become the second-largest university in the state. He had the gathered group laughing when he said Mankato State might open an Eagan Campus.

HOF coach Bud Grant was there and shocked me by coming up from behind and emotionally hugging me. I remember covering coach Grant’s Vikings and how serious and stoic he was. I was so determined back then to not be denied. Coach Grant was always good to me — that’s why after all these years the Vikings are like family to me.

There have been hundreds of ball boys and staff employees over these 52 years at Mankato. Only a couple, however, have gone on to star in the National Football League. The late Dennis Green made that a reality for me; he gave my two sons Marcus and Larry, Jr. their first jobs. I hosted and produced the “Dennis Green Radio Show” for eight years.

I will never forget the hot August day that my son Marcus called me at 4 am to tell me Korey Stringer had died of heat exhaustion. I was in shock literally and jumped in my car and drove to Mankato. I never thought to check my fuel gage. I was just emotionally lost.

My car ran out of gas on highway 169 near St. Peter. Former Vikings star Joe Sensor stopped and helped me get gas after being stranded on the road. That would ultimately be the last season for coach Green. In 2001 the team could not overcome the death of Stringer.

The 2017 Vikings look good to me with Super Bowl 52 coming up in February of 2018. I believe this team is ready for the challenge in this final season of Vikings football in Mankato and the chance to win Super Bowl 52 at home in U.S. Bank Stadium.

Do you believe it’s finally time for the Vikings?

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on 
Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to, or visit

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GDG rundown for the weekend of Aug. 4th-6th

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Sometimes, it’s nice to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Twin Cities.  That’s the case for not one, but both of our hosts this week.  Larry rubs shoulders with NFL royalty as he covers the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH.  Meanwhile, Eric heads to the Pacific Northwest for a change of scenery.  And GDG’s Tom Tuttle brings a Minnesota flavor to the program.  There’s a lot of talk about the NFL, Vikings Training Camp, the Twins slow fade, and some personnel changes on the PGA Tour.


Only A Matter of Time

Segment 1: The NFL Preseason is underway.  Our guys look into some of the headlines as the pigskins start to fly.  Will Colin Kaepernick find a job?  What should we expect from the Vikings?


America the Beautiful

Segment 2: The guys are both on the road this week, and they use this segment to soak in their surroundings.  We get a sense of how fanatical the state of Ohio and the city of Seattle are for their sports franchises.


Driven for Success…and Change

Segment 3: It’s a key time of the year in the world of golf.  It’s also a bit of a turbulent time for two of the game’s biggest stars.  Has Phil Mickelson’s image been tarnished through someone else’s conviction of guilt?  And why is Rory McIlroy making news off the course this week?


The Stars of “The Star”

Segment 4: One of the NFL’s glamour teams had a showcase on Thursday.  However, what can we expect from the Dallas Cowboys this season?  Eric and Larry dig deep into the resurgence of “America’s Team”, including how owner Jerry Jones got himself into the Hall of Fame.


Purple Preseason Pride

Segment 5: We’ve heard quite a bit about pro football nationally, but what about in our own backyard?  Eric and Larry take some time to focus in on the Vikings.  Are they still hopeful that Teddy Bridgewater can return?


GDG’s Tom Tuttle Talks Twins

Segment 6: The Twins eventually became sellers as the Trade Deadline came and went.  And the disappointment in the air couldn’t be summed up any better than by GDG’s Tom Tuttle.  He joins the program to look into whether the team took the right path for this season and beyond.


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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Chuck Foreman has Hall of Fame credentials

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By Eric Nelson
April 5, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the home of Wheaties...


•Overdue Honor: It’s unbelievable that Chuck Foreman is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The greatest RB in Minnesota Vikings history has HOF stats and deserves to be part of the galaxy of stars in Canton, OH. It’s a miscarriage of NFL justice that Foreman hasn’t already been inducted into the Hall…

•NFL Trailblazer: Foreman was the first great multi-talented back in NFL history. He was a trend setter who paved the way for guys like Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk. Number 44 could run with power and speed, and could also catch the ball like a wideout. Foreman was remarkably gifted and his signature spin move made opponents dizzy. He was clearly one of the most exciting players in the 1970’s…

•Impressive Resume: Foreman’s career stats are comparable or better than other HOF backs such as Gale Sayers, Terrell Davis or Floyd Little. In eight seasons he ran for 5,950 yards, had 350 receptions for 3,156 yards and scored 76 touchdowns. Foreman also played in three Super Bowls and five Pro Bowls…

•Purple Apathy: Unfortunately the Vikings are not pushing Foreman for the HOF. This makes no sense and needs to change. Foreman was a key player on the outstanding Minnesota teams of the 1970’s. Without him the Vikings would not have made three Super Bowl trips in four years (1974, ’75 and ’77). Foreman’s impact on the Viking offense was huge and he elevated the play of Fran Tarkenton, Ahmad Rashad, Sammy White, Ron Yary and other Minnesota stars. It is mind-boggling that the Vikings do not promote him as a legitimate HOF candidate…

•Good Start: It’s only one game, and there are 161 left to play in a marathon regular season, but Minnesota’s 7-1 opening day win over Kansas City was a positive first step. The Twins had sputtering starts in 2015 (1-6) and 2016 (0-9), so any kind of positive mojo is good. The Twins had not won a season opener in nine years

•Ace-Like: P Ervin Santana was brilliant on the mound and got the win. Santana limited the Royals to just one run and two hits in seven innings. The Twins hope this is a precursor to the kind of season Santana is going to have…

•New Era: The LA Dodgers celebrated their 60th year in So Cal on Monday as they crushed San Diego 14-3. It also marked the beginning of the post-Vin Scully era. The legendary Scully retired last season and no longer vividly describes the action from the Dodger Stadium broadcast booth. According to the LA Times, Scully spent the day paying bills, going to the post office and washing his car…

•Singing the Blues: They would never admit it publicly, but my guess is that Minnesota would like to avoid St. Louis in round one of the NHL playoffs. Facing Blues coach Mike Yeo is a can’t win proposition for the Wild. As a higher seed Minnesota is expected to knock out St. Louis and it would be embarrassing to lose to Yeo – who was unceremoniously dumped by the Wild last season…

•Smart Move: NHL players will not be a part of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. This was bound to happen and makes sense from the NHL’s standpoint. Why shutdown your product in the middle of the season for three weeks and subject players to possible injury on the Olympic stage? A lot of NHL players are unhappy with the decision, but it is logical from the owners perspective…

•Pioneer Spirit: Denver’s Jim Montgomery is the winner of the 2016-17 Spencer Penrose Award, presented annually to the Division I Men’s Hockey Coach of the Year. Montgomery is the first NCHC coach to win the honor in the conference’s four-year history. Denver (31-7-4) has the most wins in college hockey and has reached the Frozen Four in 2016 and 2017…

•Soccer Salute: Minnesota United finally cracked the win column. The Loons won their first-ever MLS game last week, knocking off Real Salt Lake 4-2 at TCF Bank Stadium. Christian Ramirez (two goals) and HC Adrian Heath were named to the MLS week 5 team of the week. Minn U (1 win, 1 draw, 3 losses) plays at Dallas (2-1-0) on Saturday night at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX…

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Gameday Gold Radio – August 4, 2017 – s.1

Sometimes, it’s nice to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Twin Cities.  That’s the case for not one, but both of our hosts this week.  Larry rubs shoulders with NFL royalty as he covers the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH.  Meanwhile, Eric heads to the Pacific Northwest for a change of scenery.  And GDG’s Tom Tuttle brings a Minnesota flavor to the program.  There’s a lot of talk about the NFL, Vikings Training Camp, the Twins slow fade, and some personnel changes on the PGA Tour.

Only A Matter of Time

Segment 1: The NFL Preseason is underway.  Our guys look into some of the headlines as the pigskins start to fly.  Will Colin Kaepernick find a job?  What should we expect from the Vikings?